June 28, 2024

The Secret Spots to Buy Korean Soju as a Souvenir at Incheon Airport


What should you buy as a representative product of Korea before leaving? Soju (소주), a staple in Korean dramas, makes for a great gift or a way to reminisce about your trip to Korea with a drink back home.

However, finding a place to buy soju at the airport can be challenging. In fact, there is only one place to buy soju in Terminal 1 and two places in Terminal 2.

First, let's talk about the locations. In Terminal 1, soju is only sold at the CU convenience store near Counter H in the landside central area. Refer to the map below for the exact location. The soju brands available include some of the best-selling ones in Korea: ① Chamisul (참이슬), ② Chum Churum (처음처럼), ③ Jinro (진로), and ④ Good Day (좋은데이).

The store is located in the landside area, so you need to check the soju into your luggage as checked baggage. Liquids over 100ml cannot pass through the security checkpoint, so make sure to pack the soju in your luggage for check-in. Fortunately, the soju sold at the airport comes in plastic bottles, reducing the risk of breakage during transit.

In Terminal 2, you can buy soju at the CU convenience store in the B1 Transportation Center and the GS25 convenience store in the central area of the 3rd floor. Terminal 2 offers not only popular diluted soju like Chamisul (참이슬) but also traditional distilled soju, which is pricier but more elegant than whisky, making it an attractive gift for foreign visitors. Distilled soju bottles are often more luxurious, making them perfect gifts for liquor enthusiasts.

Distilled soju is made by fermenting pure cultured microorganisms and then distilling them using a low-pressure method to eliminate any impurities. It is aged in onggi (옹기) for three months to enhance the unique flavor of the rice. It is excellent for enjoying as a highball or cocktail with drinks or fruit.

The leading brand in the distilled soju market is Hwayo (화요). Other notable brands include ② Dokdo (독도), ③ Ilpoom Jinro (일품진로), ④ Bit (빛), and ⑤ Wonsoju (원소주). At Incheon Airport, you can purchase Hwayo, Dokdo 17 (독도 17), Dokdo 24 (독도 24), Ilpoom Jinro 25 (일품진로 25), Bit 24 (빛 24), Bit 32 (빛 32), and Wonsoju 24 (원소주 24).

There are various ways to enjoy popular diluted soju. Some people prefer drinking it straight, while others mix it with beer to make somaek (소맥), a cocktail loved for its balanced taste that appeals to both men and women. Somaek is popular because it combines the best of soju and beer, creating a refreshing drink. Light lagers are recommended for the beer component. Personally, I always start with a glass of somaek. The golden ratio for somaek is to mix soju and beer in a 3:7 ratio in a chilled beer glass. Another method is to lightly freeze the soju until it forms a thin layer of ice, making it go down smoothly like honey.

For more information, read the following articles:

"Incheon Airport Terminal 1 Convenience Stores: Your Last Chance for Affordable Shopping."

"Incheon Airport Terminal 2 Convenience Stores: Your Last Chance for Korean Snack Shopping."

"Discover exclusive finds and the perfect last-minute gifts at Incheon Airport!."

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